Sunday, July 18, 2010

Martin Phillipps - Sketch Book: Volume One (2000)

Keeping with the tape trend, these are the home recordings of New Zealand pop lapidary, Martin Phillipps of the Chills. This is a very intimate work. Although the production quality is incredibly lo-fi and even shaky at times, the songs themselves are atmospheric and resonate with a certain campfire warmth and glow which really draws you into them. Despite these being rough sketches for Phillipps to show to his band mates to give them an idea of the sound he was going for, outside of a few brief instrumentals (which come off more as pieces of unfinished demos but still manage to be interesting), most the songs stand strong on their own, and I personally prefer the lack of a "decent" production. The song writing is simple enough, although layered adequately, constructed with electric guitars, synths, organs, and various other instruments over a drum machine. "Haunt Me" is a truly heart wrenching ballad and ranks up there on my list of all time favorite songs. Phillipps also plays the part of a storyteller with the tragedy of "Carabela," drawing sympathy for his character with his affecting narrative and tense musical complements. This album is quite different from what'd you expect from a Chills record. It's not as fully realized, but there's a definite affinity developed between the tape hiss and the general organic nature of bedroom recording, and this is a perfect example of the appeals of this type of production.

Rating: 8.5/10

DOWNLOAD [re-upped]:


  1. Martin Phillips is a genius to my ears. The Chills have accompanied me since my younger years, and I always fall for them each time I have a listen... An old companion, sort of... Thanks!

  2. He is indeed a genius. I'm hoping he'll put out a new Chills record sometime. Sorry about the dead link, I'll re-up it for ya.